Marshall Thundering Herd 2023 College Football Preview

Marshall Thundering Herd 2023 College Football Preview

July 6, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 9-4

ATS – 7-6

Oh, what could have been.

The Herd acclimated well to FUN BELT action and had some impressive wins along the way. They took down Notre Dame (!) on the road, whipped James Madison away from home, and defeated Appalachian St. The problem? Losses to Bowling Green (!) and Louisiana were inexcusable. Marshall finished the season in fine form as they won their final five games, and that included a Myrtle Beach Bowl triumph over Connecticut (W 28-14).

Marshall Thundering Herd 2023 Outlook


The Herd did a fantastic job with the ground game LY (206 YPG, #2 Sun Belt) but they were dead last (!) in the conference in passing offense. QB Cam Fancher has the license to improve in his 2nd season with the team and he provides legit dual-threat ability for the offense (10-6 TD to INT, 466 rush LY). Fancher won’t be happy to know that #1 WR (by far) Corey Gammage (774, 6 TD) has hit the transfer portal and they’ll need someone on the depth chart to emerge as a new #1 option for the offense to achieve more balance. The worst news on this side of the football is the loss of star RB Khalan Laborn who was devastating LY (1,513, 16 TD), but thankfully, they’ve got a healthy Rasheen Ali to take over the main duties (1,401, 23 TD! in 2021). Marshall features four returning starters and plenty of size up front and we expect the ground attack to be dominant once again.



Marshall was sensational on defense LY and they were equally stout vs the run (93 YPG, #4 FBS) and the THROW GAME (#3 FBS pass efficiency D). There’s reason for a bit of concern as the Herd return just four starters and three of their top-nine tacklers. The good news is that they retain #1 tackler LB Eli Neal, star DE Owen Porter (1st Team Sun Belt, 9.5 sacks, 15 TFL, 9 QBH LY), and HM AA CB Micah Abraham (10 PBU, 6 INT). That’s three REALLY good players to build around and they’ve added a lot of talented bodies at every level of the defense thru the transfer portal. This will still be one of the best defenses in the Sun Belt.


The Herd retain their PK, KR, and PR. Yippee. The only problem is that they were a mediocre group LY and the great PHIL STEELE rated them as the #123 unit. Hopefully, the transfer additions of punter Kolby Morgan and KR Mason Pierce will lead them to meaningful improvement.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The non-conference schedule includes two tough ones (Virginia Tech, at NC State) and what appear to be a pair of easy games. They miss Troy in crossover play but have to face South Alabama on the road. They have to deal with a stretch of four road games in five weeks (see below).

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Appalachian St (Nov 4)

This is the fourth road game in five weeks and Boone, NC is a nasty place to play for visiting teams. Also note that they’ll be coming off back-to-back games vs James Madison and Coastal Carolina.

Season Win Total

Market consensus July 6

Over 7.5 +130

Under 7.5 -160


No leanage.

You should be able to find a flat ‘7’ out there, and if you can get it, we’d play the ‘over 7’. Getting that eighth win might be a bit tricky given the schedule they must face.

MEGAmazing Tidbits

The Herd have a 13-5 record in bowl games but they needed last season’s win over Connecticut to break a three-game skid.

Marshall University is named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Legend has it that unlike today, every member of that particular Supreme Court was smart enough to be able to define the term “woman”.


Marshall is yet another serious contender in the ROUGH and TOUGH Sun Belt East. The defense will be fine but we think they’ll need to find another gear on offense if they wanna take down the division. The schedule-maker was unkind, so if they’re gonna win the East, they’re gonna have to earn it. Sun Belt champ longshot possibility for those inclined to take the risk. Go Herd!